Spider-Man: No Way Home gave Tom Holland's Peter Parker his first real opportunity to break out of Tony Stark's shadow. The "Iron Boy Jr." debate can be polarizing, but there's no denying Iron Man's influence on Spider-Man's journey from Captain America: Civil War up to Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Not only is Tony directly responsible for bringing Peter into the fold, but his unintentional mentorship has subconsciously guided the young hero from evolving out of his underoos. Even after he dies in Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home further emphasizes Tony's effect on Peter. It's literally in the MacGuffin's name: "E.D.I.T.H. - Even Dead, I'm The Hero."
While No Way Home barely referenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe's late genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, events from the movie did hint at a new way Tony Stark could have impacted Peter Parker's life.
Peter Parker's Implied History With Tony Stark
Even before they became co-workers, Peter Parker always had a fascination with Tony Stark.
Peter was not only present at Iron Man 2's Stark Expo, but he was saved by the man himself during that film's climactic battle. While that brief interaction between the two comes six years before their formal introduction in Captain America: Civil War, Tony saving Peter could have had the same effect Hawkeye had on a young Kate Bishop in 2012's The Avengers.
Just as Bishop developed a fascination with Clint Barton, Parker could have found himself seeking out the man who first made him feel like a hero. While another Stark Expo after Iron Man 2 has never been confirmed, with Captain America fronting the Avengers at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron and into Civil War, it's fair to assume Tony returned his focus to Stark Industries.
Running with this idea, Tony would have hosted another Stark Expo "six months" before Civil War. On the surface, everything runs smoothly. No whiplash-wielding terrorists or rogue Hammer Industries drones are in sight. The only issue comes in Stark Industries' radioactive spider display, which analytics reveal that one is missing.
Did Stark Industries Create Spider-Man?
While this theory significantly alters Peter Parker's comic origins, there is precedence for Stark Industries being the laboratory responsible for Spider-Man.
Both Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's iterations of Spider-Man were bitten by arachnids within an Oscorp laboratory. As revealed by Willem Dafoe's Norman Osborn in No Way Home, "Oscorp doesn't exist" in the MCU. While this doesn't mean the company won't be created eventually, it does take it off the table for hosting Tom's Peter's spider bite.
While other companies like Pym Technologies and Advanced Idea Mechanics exist, Stark Industries remains the leading laboratory and consequently the favorite to host this type of radioactive research.
Tony's Suspicious Interest In Spider-Man
On top of this, Tony Stark does have a suspiciously detailed résumé of Peter Parker before they formally meet in Civil War.
It wouldn't take much for someone as powerful as Stark to get details on a person of interest, but the question of motive still remains. Was Tony Stark simply scouting talent for a future Earth's Mightiest Heroes roster, or was he keeping tabs on Peter because he felt responsible?
Tom's Peter does not do the best job at maintaining the "anonymous superhero thing," but Tony seemingly connected the dots way before Spider-Man was a public figure is noteworthy. Seeing an arachnid-based New York hero a couple of months after one of his rogue radioactive spiders bit a high schooler would be an easy conclusion for anyone, let alone a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.
From there, Tony kept his vested interest in Spider-Man from the shadows. He monitored the young hero's progress until the time was right to bring him in.
From Aldrich Killian and Ultron all the way to Vulture and Mysterio, Tony Stark is responsible for creating a significant chunk of the MCU's villains. Who's to say he didn't create a hero as well?
Spider-Man: No Way Home is in theaters now.